01/10/17 11:48am
Via @starbucksnorth7th on Instagram.

Via @starbucksnorth7th on Instagram.

It’s hack to get upset about Starbucks these days since the omnipresent, if not eternally boring, chain has become such a part of the background of NYC, like many banks, Vitamin Worlds and other things that pass through our vision like reused backdrops in old cartoons. So when the Starbuckses (Starsbuck?) arrived in Williamsburg in 2015, it was met with a sigh of inevitability: the neighborhood well on its way to being little Soho was of course a natural home to the coffee giant and its copy-and-paste coffee house furniture, soundtrack and food.

The problem with Starbucks is that it’s so unnecessary in a neighborhood like Williamsburg, which has long been filled to the brim with a bounty of coffee places surfing riding that coffee third wave. That means the only reason you’d choose to go to Starbucks is that you: A) don’t know about the other spots in the neighborhood or B) genuinely prefer it to a local shop (A is slightly more offensive than B to me for many reasons).

But shortly after opening, things got a little more intense in the Brooklyn coffee wars: The Starbucks off Bedford Avenue started selling beer and wine to attract the nighttime caffeinated drinker crowd, which put them in direct competition with many of the bars and coffee shops in the neighborhood. And guess what just happened? Starbucks lost.  (more…)

10/21/16 1:31pm
Drink and eat all you want and just pay by the hour at Glass Hour. Via Facebook.

Drink and eat all you want and just pay by the hour at Glass Hour. Via Facebook.

Loitering has been a problem for coffee shop owners for so long that we’ve gone through several cycles of addressing it in New York City. First came limiting laptop hours and eliminating outlets, then things like timed wifi. Britcom hit Fleabag skewered the annoying laptop camper in its inaugural season this summer, which means it’s far from just an American thing. It’s a tough balance for businesses to strike between enabling the long, languorous cafe afternoons that can be good for productivity and community while also limiting the freeloaders who just want your wifi and free coffee refills while they turn a table into their personal office space.

But what if a cafe embraced lingerers instead of chasing them out? That’s the premise of Glass Hour, a new “anti-cafe” and “new-age working space” that opened in Williamsburg on Aug. 26, where customers can eat, drink and play their games as much as they want; they pay by the hour they spend there, not by what they consume. It’s a hybrid of a coworking space and a coffee shop. But will it work?  (more…)

10/19/15 8:30am
PulpandtheBean-640x640

Look! The Pulp & the Bean has even more Fall flavors than Starbucks!

We fought it as long as we could, but it is officially, undeniably autumn. And with closed-toed shoes and denim-covered limbs comes the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Look, I get it. They taste like caffeinated pie, complete with whipped cream and a stomach ache later. As Donald Trump would say, “They’re great!”

Another thing that the Donald thinks is great is the corporate takeover of Brooklyn. You know who I’m talking about. That venti grande adult-contemporary-pumping purveyor of Oprah-branded tea products. Crown Heights got its first Starbucks last year, nestled between a Capital One branch and a beloved local coffee house just outside of the Franklin Avenue station. People saw its opening a harbinger of gentrification gone off the rails, the Disney-fication of Brooklyn, but mostly a slap in the face to the already vibrant coffee scene in the area. Politics aside; Starbucks’ coffee is just not that good, you can do better. So, this fall if you find yourself in the vicinity of Franklin Avenue and in need of an an autumnal treat, we’ve compiled this handy list of 6 fall alternatives from Crown Heights coffee shops to make caffeinating great again! (more…)

07/24/15 9:49am
Brooklyn Kolache's yard even has an umbrella for protection from glare/extra productivity. Photo by David Colon

Brooklyn Kolache’s yard even has an umbrella for protection from glare/extra productivity. Photo by David Colon

What is the one thing New Yorkers need to survive and is everywhere? Coffee. What is the one thing New Yorkers need to survive but is hard to find? Nature. That why we’ve compiled a list of great Brooklyn coffee shops with gardens, outdoor patios or backyards, where caffeine and the great outdoors (or as great as they’re gonna get) meet. Be sure to enjoy these places while you can, because before we know it, Snowpocolypse 2016 will be knocking on our doors. (more…)

05/26/15 12:31pm
You can pry our dumb coffee shop sandwich boards from our cold, dead hands

You can pry our dumb coffee shop sandwich boards from our cold, dead hands

This morning, Slate’s Heather Schwedel penned an article criticizing coffee shop sandwich boards. She titles the article, “When Did Sidewalk Café Sandwich Boards Start Trying So Hard to Make Jokes?” I see your point, Heather, and raise you the advertising industry since the 20th century. Call us old-fashioned, but we sincerely don’t understand what’s wrong with “creative expressions of branding,” as Schwedel terms the sandwich board art.

She gets pretty rant-y, spending about 1000 words shaming pun-happy baristas. In referring to one solicitous sandwich board, Schwedel writes, “the sheer cheekiness nearly knocked me over.” Oh honey, this is New York City. If everyone’s sheer cheekiness threw me off balance, I’d spend most of the day on my back. We’ll sum the Slate article up by saying TL;DR. But let us rant for a sec, too, because there’s a fair amount of barista dignity at stake here. (more…)

04/23/15 9:56am
Is this you every day of the week? Be nice, buy something else

Is this you? There are some things you should know.

If you’re a freelancer who works remotely, you’re well-versed in the coffee shop campout. You arrive prepared early in the morning, laptop in hand, ready for a day of quiet work alongside dozens of other freelancers. But oh, what’s this? The barista is giving you the stink-eye. And so are the people sitting near you. But why? Well, probably because you’re violating basic rules of camper etiquette. While we can agree that wi-fi enabled cafés are a god-given right these days, there are also basic courtesies that should (and do) go along with that privilege. So in that spirit, here are our Do’s and Don’ts of spending your workday at a single coffee joint. (more…)

Alison Pels at Pels pies

Alison at Pels Pie Co. Awww…

Nothing makes the olds around here happier than seeing members of the Brokelyn Alumni Club go on to bigger and other things. Longtime readers may remember Alison Pels’ seminal work on freeloading at museums and her bravery and fortitude in hydrant-testing drugstore makeup with the other Broketown Ladies. She is also the journalistic powerhouse behind the definitive investigation into whether Dr. Bronner’s really has 18 uses. (Spoiler alert: maybe.) Now she’s plying her smarts on pastry dough with Pels Pie Co. (446 Rogers Avenue), her pie shop, bar and coffee house opening today in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens with all kinds of merriment, then open daily from 7 to 10. Stop by, but don’t do any of these things! Mean time, here’s more on how Alison rose from the ranks of the doughless and achieved what 1 in 3 Brooklynites only say they’re going to do:  (more…)

tea lounge park slope

The coffee shop stayed busy on its final Thursday open. Photo by David Colon

Turns out that the Winter of Closings (free thinkpiece right there) will extend from out of Williamsburg into Park Slope, as the Tea Lounge suddenly announced with a message on Facebook they would be closing on December 14. No reason for the closure was given, and in a call last night to the coffee shop, a barista told us that even the employees had no idea the Tea Lounge was closing until they got to work that day. A request for comment from the Tea Lounge’s owner hasn’t been returned as of now. (more…)

05/12/14 11:55am
daily press

The Daily Press in Bed-Stuy is one of just 122 great places to get coffee in Brooklyn. via Facebook

Recently, the Times posted an interactive map of 101 spots to get great coffee in NYC, including a meager 29 coffee shops in Brooklyn, and leaving entire neighborhoods blank. While the map paid even less attention to Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, we felt compelled to right their egregious oversights in our borough. So, we put together a map representing the motherlode of BK coffee hubs, from as far south as Sheepshead Bay to the northern tip of Greenpoint.

Thanks to everyone who contributed, including Team Brokelyn’s Tim, Rebecca, Isaac, Conal, Sam, Dan, and Ned Berke from Sheepshead Bites. Let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite spot!

05/07/14 2:29pm
new york times coffee map

Come on guys

Coffee. New York loves coffee and the Times is ON it. There’s nothing wrong with an article looking at the rise of people around here appreciating coffee and the response to it in the market. There is however, something wrong with the Times then publishing an interactive map letting you know where to get great coffee and leaving out huge swathes of Brooklyn that aren’t Williamsburg. Sounds like someone is getting a loogie in their latte if they come to Bed-Stuy. (more…)